TULSA, OKLA. – The Oklahoma School for the Blind will celebrate National White Cane Safety Awareness Day on Monday, October 15, at Woodland Hills Mall in Tulsa.
The free event is open to the public.
Woodland Hills Mall is located at 7021 S. Memorial Road.
OSB faculty will display educational exhibits beginning at 3 p.m.
The award-winning OSB Jazz Band, which earned 2-A state championships in 2016, 2017 and 2018, will perform at 6 p.m.
After the performance, students will share information about OSB and White Cane Safety Awareness Day. Students and faculty will demonstrate proper cane techniques and build awareness as they walk in the mall beginning at 6:30 p.m. Everyone will be invited to join the walk to show support.
National White Cane Safety Awareness Day recognize the connection between effective cane use and travel safety and independence.
“Bringing White Cane Safety Awareness Day to Woodland Hills Mall offers an excellent opportunity for our students to demonstrate white cane travel skills and meet and educate new people about blindness,” OSB Superintendent Rita Echelle said. “We also enjoy celebrating the many accomplishments of people with vision impairments and informing the community about services we offer free of charge at Oklahoma School for the Blind.”
OSB is currently educating 93 residential and commuter students who attend classes Monday through Thursday on school campus, which is headquartered in Muskogee.
As the statewide resource for students who are blind or visually impaired, OSB also serves students with visual disabilities who attend other schools, their families and educators throughout Oklahoma.
Legal blindness occurs when vision is 20/200 or less in the better eye with the best possible correction, or the visual field is restricted to 20 degrees or less.
“Approximately 3.5 percent of the population or 134,679 Oklahomans have vision difficulties and may be potential white cane or dog guide users,” Echelle said. “In spite of new technology, the traditional white cane is a vital tool that enables people who are blind to travel independently.”
The school is a division of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services.
For more information about the Oklahoma School for the Blind or National White Cane Safety Awareness Day, contact Karen Reed at (918) 781-8228 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
White Cane History
The first white cane laws were drafted around the time that National White Cane Safety Day was established by presidential proclamation in 1964. Today, similar laws exist in all 50 states and in the District of Columbia.
Under Oklahoma law, only blind people may carry white canes with or without red tips, which are universally recognized as mobility aids for people with vision impairments.
Oklahoma law requires drivers to completely stop their vehicles 15 feet away from pedestrians who are visually impaired and identified by their use of white canes or dog guides. People who violate this law are guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for up to three months or $100 fine or both.
The Oklahoma School for the Blind is the statewide resource for the education of blind and visually impaired students. Residential and commuter students meet all state-mandated education requirements and receive specialized instruction in Braille, orientation and mobility, optimum use of low vision, adaptive equipment technology and tactile graphic skills not readily available at other public schools in the state. OSB also provides thousands of hours of free services each year for students attending local public schools, their families and local school staff.